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Broken Heart Spirits working with distributors

Joerg Henkenhaf, owner of Broken Heart Spirits talks about how brands can work with their distributors to increase sales.

The Broken Heart Gin story began when two Germans living in New Zealand’s South Alps were brought together by their passion for perfecting spirits of rare complexity and fine flavours. Before creating award-winning spirits, owners Joerg and Bernd were not directly into the alcohol-beverage industry. Joerg was a pilot, and Bernd, an engineer. Joerg and Bernd, both philosophers and Master Distillers, decided they wanted to create a gin that was different from others - and they did. Together, they created a beautiful gin with an intricate balance of eleven botanicals and a twist of orange.

Unfortunately, Bernd fell sick, and after fighting his illness, he sadly passed away. For Joerg, losing his friend was heartbreaking. As Joerg travelled down the road to heal, he realised that as much as a broken heart hurts, it’s also a space to be filled with new beginnings and so he decided to share their gin with the world and to call it Broken Heart - as a tribute to his friend Bernd.

Today, Broken Heart Spirits is home to the original gin and other award-winning spirits like rum, vodka, whisky, beer, and a Quince liqueur. This year, at the 2021 London Spirits Competition, Broken Heart Spirits took home three silver medals, one each for their Broken Heart Original Gin, Broken Heart Quince Gin, and Broken Heart Pinot Noir Gin. 

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m Joerg Henkenhaf and I am originally from Karlsruhe, Germany. I have lived in New Zealand for 20 years and set up Broken Heart Spirits 9 years ago. I have 2 beautiful daughters, Anna and Lina, and 2 cats, Popcorn and Mocka. In my spare time, you will find me in the heart of the home brainstorming new creations and concoctions from jams and jellies to new gin flavours.

2. According to you, what makes a great spirit?


3. What would be your typical day at work?

I am the main brain, creating ideas and the long-term vision for the company. I am continually driven by my passion for distilling - so I remain very hands-on in the day-to-day production of the Broken Heart Spirits range. However, you will also find me responding to emails, helping with marketing, and driving sales for the business.

4. How often are you firing up the stills and how long does a batch take?

Each batch takes approximately 3 hours. Depending on orders and stock levels, we determine how often we need to distill each week, so this can really vary from day to day and week to week.

5. What excites you the most about your brand?

The worldwide recognition.

6. What spirits do you consider your flagship spirits and why?

Our Original Gin is our flagship product. The company was born from the love and passion for gin and finding the perfect recipe for the best 'everyday drinking' gin.

Joerg Henkenhaf, owner of Broken Heart Spirits

7. What are some of the things you do to make sure your distributor has everything they need?

We supply our distributors with tasting notes for all products, we advise them about awards that are won, and we keep them in the loop of all developments and work in progress.

8. Where can we find your products?

Our main New Zealand distribution is through our website and our national supplier Giesen. We also have an Australian distributor

9. How do you help bars, restaurants, and retailers in increasing sales?

We have a national distributor who supplies bars/restaurants/liquor stores etc. By working closely with all the sales reps we strive to increase sales, brand awareness and are always seeking new opportunities for distribution outlets.

We offer in-depth product training and tastings for all bars/restaurants that stock our products. The more they know about our products, the more they understand the story behind Broken Heart, then the easier it is for them to sell sell sell.

10. How big of a part does social media play in your marketing?

We use social media a lot for marketing purposes. We post about daily happenings at the distillery, product updates, information about staff, stock, enticing images, etc. We try to engage our audience as much as we possibly can in everything Broken Heart so they feel part of our journey.

11. What advice would you give to fellow distillers?

Believe in yourself and your product. This passion will shine through!

12. Do you have a distillery tour/tasting room experience set in place? What can guests expect from it?

Broken Heart Gin Garden tasting room opened at the end of July 2021. Here we offer full tastings of our products either in the bar or in a private room for larger groups of up to 8 people.

13. What are some of the spirits you have on your personal shelf?

I have the entire Broken Heart range, along with Absinthe and Mount Edward Elderflower Vermouth to go in my Negroni.

Broken Heart Original Gin is gradually being filled

14. What are some of your favorite cocktails made with Broken Heart Spirits?

Dark and Stormy - Broken Heart Spiced Rum, lime juice, ginger beer.

Southern 45 - Broken Heart Original Gin, Quartz Reef Brut, lemon juice.

Red Snapper - Our secret spice recipe, tomato juice, and Broken Heart Navy Strength Gin.

15. Lastly, what are you drinking right now?

I am partial to a Negroni in the evenings.

International and Domestic Submission deadline is February 22. If you are looking to grow your brand in 2024, looking for product feedback, or looking to get in front of real trade buyers. It's time to enter your brands in the London Competitions. Here's how to enter, costs and benefits.

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